Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

February 28, 2007

Clearing the snow

When we were looking to buy a house here, our kids were young, and we were very concerned about sidewalks. Many houses in Montgomery County have no sidewalks, and it's a lot harder for younger kids to walk to their friends' houses or just to play in front of their own. So we ended up in Rockville, where almost all the houses have sidewalks.

Of course, with a sidewalk, you have the responsibility for clearing snow. When we had the blizzard in 1996, this was a major job. Normally, however, it's not such a big deal, and you tend to become annoyed with neighbors who don't bother to clear the snow or ice from their sidewalks.

The good news is that aggressive local governments enforce the snow-clearing laws, which require removal within 24 hours. The bad news is that our local governments are incompetent.

Some poor shnook who lived in Gaithersburg (like Rockville, an incorporated, self-governing city) received a violation letter from Montgomery County. It wasn't bad enough that he had already cleared his snow. As a resident of Gaithersburg, he didn't even live within the county's jurisdiction. A total of 90 Gaithersburg residents received similar letters. A county spokesman explained:

The county sent the letters based on a complaint that did not give specific addresses for the alleged violations, only for the general area around the middle school. "In trying to be responsive to a citizen call, it backfired," Anderson said.
The county has apologized to these people, but it still has egg on its face, which by law it's required to remove within 24 hours.